World champion King announces retirement date

THREE-time world champion surfer Damian King has announced he will retire from bodyboarding.

The decision comes after the elation of taking out the Surfer of the Century award recently in North Haven. The Port Macquarie product said it was one of the most special moments in his long and distinguished career that has produced two bodyboarding world championships and a drop knee world title.

He said the decision to retire was not made lightly but was bolstered by his desire to spend more time with his young family.

"I really miss them when I'm away competing," he said. "Winning the Surfer of the Century award really put things into perspective for me.

"There's not a lot else I can do in my sport and I want to spend more time with the family so it's just the right time."

His rivals won't be able to breathe too easy though. Although making the announcement this week, King plans to have one final crack at yet another world title.

He will continue on the pro-circuit next year in the aim of going one better before calling it quits at the end of the season.

"I won the qualifying tour earlier this year for next year," he explained.

"I'm going to give it one more crack next year and that will be it for me."

Despite being sure it was time to walk away from the sport King admitted he will more than likely miss competing.

"I've been thinking that I'll miss it, but, I've been using that energy to make sure I really have a good last year," he said.

"Besides, if I keep going there's a good chance I'll be in a wheelchair by the time I'm 40, it's surprisingly tough on your body."

His wife Leota said she can see her husband's reasoning in calling it quits.

"He has had such a fulfilling career, I can see why he's chosen this," she said.

"He has a family now and I guess he's happy and satisfied with what he's accomplished in the sport and is happy to concentrate on his family."

As for life after surfing, he was unsure what career path he would take but said one thing was for sure: "As a whole this town has shown me so much support throughout the years.

"And I wouldn't have been able to do what I do with out my sponsors so I want to thank them for everything too."

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